Skip to Main Content

National History Day Guide

This guide is for students and teachers who are interested in using our collections for their National History Day Project.


The Special Collections Department at Iowa State University Library invites students participating in the National History Day in Iowa program to use the primary and secondary sources available in the department's holdings. This site includes lists of our collections that are selected to fit each years theme. We also have lists from previous years available.

If you have any questions regarding our collections, please contact us! 

What is National History Day?

National History Day in Iowa is a year-long program that helps students learn about historical issues, ideas, people and events.

Students participating in the program research a topic related to the annual NHD theme, analyze the information, and present their interpretation through projects that include papers, posters, websites, and performances.

See the National History Day in Iowa website for more information.

Visit the National History Day website for additional information, including the NHD Rule Book.

About Us

The Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) was established at the Iowa State University Library in 1969.  SCUA contains nearly 18,000 linear feet of archival materials documenting the university's main research areas such as rural life and agriculture, natural history, veterinary medicine, engineering, and women in science and engineering.  The University Archives consists of official records and faculty and alumni papers in paper and electronic formats, along with over 1,000,000 photographs, 5,000 audiovisual recordings, and 10,000 motion picture films.  Included in the archival collections are also the manuscript collections, which document individuals, families, and organizations.  Finally, there are 55,000 rare books dating back to 1475, with strengths in agriculture and the natural sciences.

Our Mission

Special Collections and University Archives collects, preserves, and shares documentation of the experiences, achievements, and memories of people and organizations reflecting the university's major research areas, with a special commitment to documenting the history of the university. Supporting the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology and human creativity to work, we strive to enrich learning and encourage investigation by a diverse community of users.

Your Archivists

Profile Photo
Special Collections & University Archives
403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University Library
Ames, IA 50011
515 294-6672

Contact us before you visit!

You will get access to the materials much faster if you contact the archives in advance. Here's why:

  • Off-site/Library Storage Building materials can take up to seven business days to retrieve. Please email to request material and schedule your visit.
  • Related materials: Even if you have something specific you want to see (and know how to request it), we may have suggestions for other materials.
  • Check the holdings: As with most archives, many of our collections don't have detailed descriptions. If you're looking for a specific document or piece of information, contact the archives before making a trip so that you won't be disappointed if the collection doesn't have what you're looking for.
  • Research Help: We understand that using archives can be complicated. We know our collections and are truly happy to help!